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Identity Protection

Learn about Northwestern's guidelines for identity protection, a recent tax scam, and fraudulent tactics:

Tactics used by fraudsters and scammers

Misinformation campaigns often target international students and their families with enticing bargains and promises of lower prices, often resulting in very serious consequences.


Fraudsters falsely act as intermediaries to pay fees or accommodation at discounted rates.


Fraudsters operate from a fraudulent website that appears to be a legitimate auction, marketplace, social media site, or traditional sales site. Goods (e.g. education supplies or textbooks) are offered at heavily discounted rates. The customer/student provides payment information to the site, including name, address and valid credit card details. Once the fraudsters receive the details they order the goods from a legitimate site using another stolen credit card number and apply for the goods with the customer’s name and address, arranging delivery to unsuspecting students. The fraudster receives payment from the student, and the student is completely unaware of the fraud as (s)he has received delivery of the goods purchased — until the fraudster goes on to purchase other goods using the credit card number of the student.